The Secret of Good Storytelling!,
This review is from: The Secret of the Unicorn (The Adventures of Tintin) (Hardcover)
Something for everyone! That's the secret.
And Hergé's "Secret of the Unicorn" fulfils that promise, launching readers of all ages on a whale of a great pirate adventure and treasure hunt with the intrepid Tintin. Accompanying our boy-reporter on his quest are the rumbustious Captain Haddock (who has never met a bottle of rum that he didn't like); and the defective detectives, Thompson and (to be precise) Thomson (identical twins whose names are NOT); their attempts to foil the notorious Bird Brothers are wildly inept, demanding the prompt interventions of Tintin and his incredibly thinking dog, Snowy, who not only save the day but also find the treasure. The story, which focuses on maps and secret cyphers, is told with flashbacks, which introduce us to Haddock's ancestor, Sir Francis, and (Blue Blistering Barnacles!) his adversary, the notorious pirate Red Rackham, scourge of at least 5 of the 7 seas.
Happily, the publishers have not modernised the dialogue (or the currency), which contributes to the old-world charm of the series. The dialogue is literate and full of benign double entendres. The narrative moves at such a fast pace that one has to slow down to savour the story, so that the 63 pages don't fly by. But, even if they should, there is always the sequel, "Red Rackham's Treasure" to look forward to.
I bought three of these books so that my grandson would become acquainted with these delightful tales, which I discovered back in the fifties. I first met Tintin in the Netherlands, in the guise of Kuifje (Cowlick, because of his upstanding shock of ginger hair); I subsequently encountered him in French, German, and Italian. Tintin, in fact, serves as an ideal aid to learning a foreign language, since all the translations from the original French are so conversational and colloquial.
"The Secret of the Unicorn" may have originated in the 'forties, but its themes of the young hero's persistence on behalf of a friend in his quest for pirate's treasure--of good triumphing over evil--are timeless. Furthermore, the running jokes are just as funny as when I first read them. They still cause me to burst into laughter. And who could not use a little laughter during turbulent times, whether then or now?